Lithuania’s Central Bank to assess information about VIA SMS Group
Lithuania’s Central Bank has promised to assess information regarding Latvian VIA SMS Group working in the country. This decision is a reaction to the statement made by Seimas National Security and Defence Committee member Arvydas Anušauskas that people associated with former Parex Banka owners work in that company.
«Before issuing the aforementioned association a license for electronic monetary functions, the bank’s supervisory council has performed all the necessary procedures and has studied the information once submitted by the company. At the same time, the council has also turned to other responsible institutions for assistance,» said the Central Bank, promising to evaluate additional information.
Last October, Lithuania’s Central Bank issued a license to VIA SMS Group’s Via Payments, which plans to start providing internet banking services to private persons and companies this autumn. Opposition party Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats member Anušauskas turned to Lithuania’s Finance Minister and Central Bank on Tuesday, 14 August, asking them to explain if VIA SMS Group’s activities have been assessed from a national security standpoint.
It recently became known that VIA SMS Group’s specialized bank FinnQ will soon enter Lithuania’s market. Another one of this group’s financial services company – Vialet – will enter the country’s market in autumn.
Another one of VIA SMS Group companies worked in Lithuania in the past – VIA SMS LT. Last July, however, it was liquidated. According to Anušauskas, FinnQ manager and board member Deniss Šerstjukovs was a member of Parex Banka council and a business partner to Parex Banka co-owner to the son of Valerijs Kargin. In addition, VIA SMS Group council also included Parex Banka co-owner Viktors Krasovicskis’ son Georgijs Krasovicskis. He worked in Parex Banka as the head of development of leasing and factoring services CIS countries.
«Šerstjukovs also has ties to Nils Ušakovs’ Concord party, which had an official cooperation agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party. Parex Banka was also involved with Russian Tambov mafia group in the context of different context. The Panama document scandal also revealed Parex Banka’s issued USD 100 million loan to Russian Verneft manager Zhan Hudainatov. It is believed this loan only sped up the collapse of Parex Banka in the end,» said Anušauskas.
He adds that the company owned by Zhan Hudainatov’s brother Eduards Hudainatov Nexavisimaya Neftegazovaya Kompaniya was applied with sanctions by USA for cooperating with North Korea’s regime.
Šerstjukovs had previously told BNS that the bank would provide sale of retail banking products and services. He also mentioned that it is planned to commence operation next year.
Last year, 50% of VIA SMS Group was owned by Latvian company Financial Investment, 31% were owned by Šerstjukovs and 19% by Georgijs Krasovickis.